World Worm Charming Championship 2016 (1)

Competitors from around the UK will be slugging it out at this year’s Willaston World Worm Charming Championships.

Hundreds are set to descend on the zany annual contest held at Willaston Primary School on June 24.

The event has made the village famous around the globe, after a regulatory body was set up back in 1980 to run the competition properly.

Competitors purchase a small plot of land, and use every legal means possible under the rules to entice as many worms as possible out of the ground in 30 minutes.

Back on July 5 1980, local Willaston farmer’s son Tom Shufflebotham amazed the world by charming 511 worms out of the ground in half an hour.

And this was the first time a true competition with strict rules had been held, establishing Willaston as the home for the annual World Championships.

A regulatory body of control was formed to compile and enforce a total of 18 rules governing all aspects of Worm Charming.

The International Federation of Charming Worms and Allied Pastimes (IFCWAP) also looks after the interests of other zany sports such as indoor hand gliding, underwater Ludo and ice tiddly-winks.

The current Worm Charming World Record has remained unbroken since 2009 when the Smith family charmed an incredible 567 worms from their plot.

Competitors compete for a trophy in the shape of a golden worm which is awarded to the person charming the most worms from their plot.

The competitor charming the heaviest worm holds the silver worm trophy for one year.

The heaviest worm recorded weighed 6.6 grams and was charmed by Mr J. Overstall in 1987.

The 2016 title was won by Willaston youngster Hope Smith who charmed 272 worms in 30 minutes (pictured, below)

Gates to this year’s event will open at 1pm and the competition starts at 2pm.

There will also be entertainment provided by XAcademy and The Infant Choir.

Refreshments will be provided by Willaston’s Mick the Chip and The French Connection.

Traditional summer fare games, stalls and raffles will also be on offer.

worm charming - Championship trophy for Most Worms - Hope Smith with Dad Matt Smith and Willaston Primary Academy Headteacher Clare Grehan

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